July 28 2014 Latest news:
Sophie Morton, Reporter
Friday, June 6, 2014
Using basketball to approach the topic of knife crime and gang culture has helped a Stratford man to be named London Coach of the Year.
Chris Facey, the head coach of Newham All Star Sports Academy (NASSA), was crowned at Lee Valley VeloPark last week.
He runs sessions with both primary and secondary school children, mixing skills training and mini tournaments with talks about the dangers of knife crime and gang culture.
“It’s better to see kids bouncing a ball rather than with a knife,” he said.
A former player in Nebraska, USA, Chris volunteers up to 30 hours a week with the scheme, working with young people across the borough.
He fought off competition from two other shortlisted coaches for the title, which recognises instructors who have made an outstanding contribution to their sport.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” said Chris, 39.
“It was just great to see what everybody else does and learn from them.”
Despite his recognition as London’s top coach, Chris doesn’t feel he has peaked just yet.
“I want to get to a higher level and improve what I do.
“When we started it was just in a park and now we’re in schools all over the borough.”
Chris received a £300 cheque for his or the club’s development as a prize, but he hasn’t yet planned how to spend it.
He will go head to head with other regional finalists to be named Gillette Community Coach of the Year in Glasgow this November.